Oscars 2016: Stuntmen to protest in front of Academy after being shut out of film awards yet again

Stunt coordinators have been protesting the lack of a relevant category for the past 25 years to no avail

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The Independent Culture

Stuntmen and women are preparing to rally in front of the Academy after being shut out from the Oscars yet again.

The community has grown increasingly angry and frustrated at the lack of a stunt coordination category and has been protesting the issue for the past 25 years.

Protesters will be delivering an online petition signed by more than 46,000 people to Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

Set up by Amber Gallaway, a fitness coach whose husband is a professional stuntman, the petition aims to “let the Academy know that the men and women who make the death-defying, thrilling and incredible adventures happen over and over again deserve recognition”. 

The “peaceful” rally will take place in Beverley Hills on Wednesday afternoon. Sadly, there are no signs that any stunts will be taking place (a huge opportunity missed there, surely), but the goal is to raise awareness of the fact that stunt people are not eligible for Oscars.

“They are the ones literally putting their lives on the line for the glory of getting that thrilling and breathtaking shot,” the petition reads. “Those are the shots that are used to promote the movies, driving people into the box offices to see those carefully designed action sequences. If you have ever enjoyed a movie, held your breath during an impossible leap from a building, been thrilled at a high-speed chase or clung to the edge of your seat when good and evil fought it out on the big screen, then please sign.”

Jeff Wolfe, Emmy-winning stunt coordinator and president of the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures, has supported the rally in a statement. “For almost 90 years the Film Academy has blatantly discriminated against stunt people and their contribution to the medium we all love and literally bleed for,” it read. 

“There are no colour lines or gender lines here. Stuntwomen and stuntmen of all walks are affected by the disregard of their significant contribution to the films we watch. After all, what would most movies be without the action?”

Many stunt people believe that studios fear destroying the audience fantasy that their favourite actors are behind the coolest car chases and shoot-outs, Benjamin Goldberg notes. In fact, actors like Tom Cruise who perform all their own stunts are few and far between. 

The Academy considered a request to credit the stunt community at the Oscars in 2011 but turned it down. It is yet to comment on the renewed request and accompanying protest. 

Elsewhere, the Screen Actors Guild Awards added stunt prizes in 2008 for both film and television, with Mad Max: Fury Road and Game of Thrones teams taking the prizes this year.

The Oscars takes place on Sunday 28 February at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.